Talk about "inconceivable." The creative Jewish genius genes run high in the Shawn family. Father William was the renown editor of The New Yorker, and son, Allen, is a music composer. (They even marry well. Allen's wife is novelist Jamaica Kincaid.) So it's no surprise that other son, Wallace, would be equally impressive. You'd recognize him for his roles in "The Princess Bride" and "My Dinner With Andre." What you might not know is that he's the same Wallace Shawn who's penned the plays "Marie and Bruce" and "Aunt Dan and Lemon." Suddenly feeling inadequate? Drag your slacker butt to Eagle Rock for some distraction. Tonight, the Gare St. Lazare Players perform solo presentations of "Hughie," by Eugene O'Neill and "The Appendix," by Wallace Shawn. 8 p.m. (Saturdays), 2 p.m. (Sundays). Runs through Feb. 23. $15. 1302 Yosemite St., Eagle Rock. (323) 662-7377
Play on: Tonight, it's a staged reading of Barbara Lebow's "The Left Hand Singing." Known best, perhaps, for writing "A Shayna Maidel," Lebow focuses back on her Jewish roots in this play. In it, three idealistic college students (one of them Jewish) disappear while registering Southern black voters during the summer of 1964. Their parents are left to cope with and make sense of the tragic events. 2 p.m. $20. University of Judaism, 15600 Mulholland Drive, Bel Air. (310) 440-1546.
And on: Super Jews Neil Simon, Marvin Hamlisch and Carole Bayer Sager contributed story, music and lyrics, respectively, to the musical "They're Playing Our Song." Tonight only, UCLA's Freud Playhouse presents a special staged reading of this collaboration. Based on the professional and personal relationship between Hamlisch and Bayer Sager, the show stars '80s B-list brat-packer-cum-Broadway star Lea Thompson ("Cabaret") and recent Broadway transplant Christopher Sieber ("Into the Woods"). 8 p.m. $55. Macgowan Hall, UCLA. R.S.V.P., (310) 825-2101.
Los Angeles Jewish Theatre caters to bilinguists this week, with play readings followed by desserts and coffee. Go see "A Family Without Shame" in Hebrew on Monday, then stick around and show off your mad Hebrew skills with fellow speakers. Tonight, similar faire, but with an accent on Yiddish. Sholom Aleichem's "She Must Marry a Doctor" and "Heaven" will be performed, with English translation for the vernacularly challenged. 8 p.m. $10. 1528 Gordon St., Hollywood. R.S.V.P., (310) 967-1352.
Kharlene Boxenbaum chooses the bull as the unifying symbol in her series "Paintings of Aggression." Fiery reds and deep purples coat large-scale unconventional surfaces, from wood fence panels, to rugged linen, to thick duck canvas. They foreshadow destruction. As art critic Collette Chattopadhyay puts it, "For Boxenbaum, the bull appears as something entirely exterior, as a metaphor of anarchy and chaos within the world at-large." You can see the exhibit through Feb. 8 at Double Vision Gallery. 11 a.m.-5 p.m. (Tuesday-Saturday). 5820 Wilshire Blvd., No. 100, Los Angeles. (323) 936-1553.
Before it was a Gwyneth Paltrow movie (tag line: "The past will connect them; the passion will possess them"), "Possession" was a Booker Prize-winning novel by A.S. Byatt. The author also wrote "The Matisse Stories" and most recently, "A Whispering Woman." Today, she speaks with David Ulin, editor of "Writing L.A.," brought to you by Writers Bloc. 7:30 p.m. $15. Skirball Cultural Center, 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles. (310) 335-0917.
Swingin' cats eager for a bit of Rat Pack nostalgia look to the Museum of Television and Radio. Opening this week are its "Sammy in the Sixties" screenings (as in Davis Jr.). The special salute features several 1960s television performances by the Candyman, including a rare 1963 BBC studio concert, a long-lost 1964 WCBS program, "American Musical Theatre" and the final episode of "The Sammy Davis Jr. Show." 2 p.m. (Wednesday-Sunday), 7:30 p.m. (Thursdays). Runs through April 6. Suggested donation: $10 (adults), $8 (students and seniors), $5 (children 14 and under). 465 N. Beverly Drive, Beverly Hills. (310) 786-1000.
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